Automated gates have many advantages. They regulate flows of people and traffic, make sure only ticket holders or authorised people have access and help with security and safety management.
One common use many are familiar with is for car park access. However, this is only one side of the story. Automated gates have many other uses in the commercial world.
They are used widely in commercial freight handling facilities, for example, and it’s not only for their proven security benefit.
Automated gates driving efficiency gains
Automated gates have many advantages for haulage companies.
They are useful to:
• keep track on which vehicles are in or out of a shipping station
• reduce congestion in shipping points – increasing both efficiency and safety
• record when a shipment has arrived or been sent out
Advanced automated gates systems can increase overall efficiency and productivity of a whole shipping station, and there are other benefits as well.
By better regulating flows of lorries and keeping drivers and loading staff waiting around less, the business can see big benefits to their bottom line.
Reducing fuel use and driver costs
One hidden benefit is that by making traffic flows more efficient, lorries don’t have to sit around idling for so long. This brings about reductions in fuel use.
It might not amount to much with just a couple of lorries coming and going, but with busy operations it can really mount up.
This saving has the dual advantage of reducing fuel costs and cutting carbon emissions. And for the most cynical execs, while carbon savings might not have direct benefits, environmental awareness certainly brings good PR to a business.
Waiting around less means benefits on the driver side too.
There are strict rules on the hours commercial drivers can work. If part of this time is spent sitting in the cab then drivers will be able to drive for less time.
This obviously means less distance can be covered in a set time and the job will become longer and more expensive for the haulage company.
And of course, even before the job has started, the driver will be being paid for sitting in his cab while he is at the haulage station.
HD camera integration
Modern systems used by haulage companies use high-definition CCTV-style cameras.
They not only read the vehicle’s number plate, but also read the chassis and container numbers to understand exactly what the shipment is. It’ll also recognise any hazardous loads symbols.
All this information is then sent to a central operations centre to confirm access rights and log the shipment. Staff are automatically alerted and can be in place to unload without delay with all the proper equipment ready and waiting.
In the past, this information would have all had to be gathered manually, leaving the truck driver waiting and creating queues of incoming and outgoing lorries. Getting the information to other staff also took longer.
There’s also safety considerations. Without staff having to walk round lorries there’s also less chance of industrial injuries.
This kind of automated gate system can reduce waiting times by half and is already making big efficiency and cost savings for haulage firms.
Automated gate systems to get more sophisticated
Automated gate systems are already in use in many businesses around the UK.
Not all businesses have upgraded from basic gate control systems. Advanced technology can help increase profits but it’s true that there is a financial outlay to get this kind of system installed.
But the experience of big haulage firms and other similar businesses are providing compelling reasons for others to follow.
It’s good news for installation engineers, but also a reminder that with new technology leading the way you’ll need to be properly skilled and up on all the latest systems to get the best jobs.